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Saving the Golden Girl

by David Barber

About the future they were never wrong,
the old pulps; how well they understood
it would be none of these things; how, once seen,
the worlds of the atom cannot be so vast
again, just a princess and a hero who belong
to high romance and the star kings;
though the dream that some of us recall
has aged terribly — the twin left
a century behind as time crawls
for the swift — waiting for our childhood
to grow corny and quaint; how,
once visited, the future dates so fast.

Ray Cummings worked for Edison while secretly
inventing glassite, artificial gravity and the needle gun
sometime after World War Three
was won, and Eddore and Arisia sparred
in my imagination at one cent a word.

It is so fragile, the past,
that going back’s a mistake. Memory
preserves things more kindly than the world;
the girl was saved by innocence
and it was all golden.

Copyright © 2012 by David Barber

To Challenge 482...

Editor’s note: Ray Cummings’ The Girl in the Golden Atom
can be found in Special Features.

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